For Pytheas of Aegina
?483 B. C.
I am not a sculptor, to make statues that stand motionless on the same pedestal. Sweet song, go on every merchant-ship and rowboat that leaves Aegina, and announce that Lampon's powerful son Pytheas
won the victory garland for the pancratium at the Nemean games, a boy whose cheeks do not yet show the tender season that is mother to the dark blossom.
He has brought honor to the Aeacids, the heroic spearmen descended from Cronus and Zeus and the golden Nereids, and to his mother city, a land friendly to guests.
Once by the altar of father Zeus Hellenius the illustrious sons of Endais and the strong, mighty Phocus stood and prayed, stretching their hands to the sky, that the city would one day be famous for men and ships.
Phocus was the son of the goddess Psamatheia; he was born by the shore of the sea. Reverence restrains me from speaking of an enormous and unjust venture,
how indeed they left the glorious island, and what divine power drove the brave men from Oenone. I will stop: it is not always beneficial for the precise truth to show her face, and silence is often the wisest thing for a man to heed.
But if it is resolved to praise wealth, or the strength of hands, or iron war,
let someone mark off a long jump for me from this point. I have a light spring in my knees, and eagles swoop over the sea. The most beautiful chorus of Muses sang gladly for the Aeacids on Mt. Pelion, and among them Apollo, sweeping the seven-tongued lyre with a golden plectrum,
led all types of strains. And the Muses began with a prelude to Zeus, then sang first of divine Thetis and of Peleus; how Hippolyte, the opulent daughter of Cretheus, wanted to trap him with deceit. With elaborate planning she persuaded her husband, the watcher of the Magnesians, to be a partner in her plot, and she forged a false story;
that Peleus had made an attempt on her
in Acastus' own bed. But the opposite was true; for she often begged him and coaxed him with all her heart, but her reckless words provoked his temper. Without hesitating he refused Acastus' bride, fearing the anger of father Zeus, the god of hospitality. And from the sky Zeus who rouses the clouds noticed,
Zeus the king of the immortals, and he promised that soon he would make one of the Nereids of the golden distaff the sea-dwelling wife of Peleus,
after gaining the consent of their brother-in-law Poseidon, who often comes from Aegae
to the famous Dorian Isthmus. There joyful bands welcome the god with the cry of reed-pipes, and contend with the bold strength of their limbs.
The fortune that is born along with a man decides in every deed. And you, Euthymenes from Aegina, have twice fallen into the arms of Victory and attained embroidered hymns.
Truly even now, Pytheas, your mother's brother honors the kindred race of that hero following after you. Nemea
is linked to him, and Aegina's festival month which belongs to Apollo.
And he was victorious over his peers both at home and in the lovely hollows of the hill of Nisus. I rejoice, because every state strives for noble deeds. Know that through the help of Menander's good fortune you won sweet requital for your toils.
It is fitting that a trainer of athletes should come from Athens.
But if you come to Themistius, let there be no more coldness! Lift up your voice, and hoist the sails to the top-most yard; proclaim him as a boxer, and tell how he claimed double excellence with his victory in the pancratium at Epidaurus
. Bring to the porch of Aeacus green garlands of flowers, in company with the golden-haired Graces.